The University of Indianapolis strives to build a campus that provides opportunities and inclusivity to all its students, according to the UIndy Office of Inclusion and Equity. One of the ways this is offered is through various clubs and organizations that students of different racial, ethnic and sexual identities can join to find a sense of community. Senior psychology major and founder of the Black Male Initiative (BMI) Antonio Toliver has helped found The Code, a new organization that serves as a connector to BMI.
According to Toliver, whilst BMI’s mission is to help promote student retention within the black male student population through events like “Black Men Don’t Cheat” and “Business Tuesdays,” The Code is meant to be the place where black male students can let loose and be themselves.
“Black Male Initiative is now an initiative that focuses on the professional development of black men on campus; it also helps with retention rates and different things like that. So, not only do we come to college, but it also ensures and makes sure that we get to the end and actually graduate,” Toliver said. “That’s kind of the difference between the two. I would say that The Code is more-so like the relationship-building and bonding, like the fun side of things, where we actually get to know each other on a more personal level.”
Junior supply chain management major and board member of BMI and The Code Jimmy Filsame said he hopes that The Code is able to help build a strong foundation for community amongst black young men around campus.
“I’m all about the community and a good set of individuals to be around and meet. We’re just building that up. Especially for new people coming in because they don’t know,” Filsaime said. “We want this big [group] of the right people to hang around so we’re creating that for them.”
According to Filsaime, The Code hopes to add an even deeper connection between students who participate in activities that BMI holds by providing them with even more resources to better themselves and their college experience. Toliver said that events like “Dear PWI,” which was a collaboration event held on Sept. 20 with UIndy’s registered student organization (RSO) Project Regalia, allowed minority students a safe space where they can air their grievances and just be themselves. He said that The Code offers a place where he can be himself.
“The Code is essentially, we’ve heard about the bro code and different things like that, so it’s kind of just something like that. We have unspoken rules or codes that we kind of just live by. And we’ve also established codes within the organization and things that we want to keep up with our peers [and] with our brothers,” Toliver said. “Basically some of the things [are] never leaving another person behind, don’t leave another brother behind. If you see something, say something, and basically just any way that you can [to] just be a helping hand to each other. And that’s kind of what it means to me, just being able to be there for somebody… being a resource and being an aid.”
Although geared towards black and minority men, Toliver said there is room for support from anyone on campus who wants to reach out.
“You don’t have to be black or male to support or want to see the advancement of the organization. I think that’s something that a lot of times doesn’t really get said,” Toliver said. “A lot of people feel like they can’t come to our events or different things like that, but… our open general events, that’s for everybody so if you just want to get to know us and really just bro with us as well, it’s open.”